After application to the Judo Federation of Australia, Northern Territory (JFANT) Committee, the Larrakeyah Barracks Judo Club (LBJC) was founded in June 1987. Despite a few brief temporary moves, the club has continued in the same location to this day. LBJC is currently one of five clubs in the Northern Territory, three of which are located in the capital city of Darwin. As with any sporting club, LBJC has endured a fluctuating membership. This is perhaps more prevalent at our club due to a high percentage of our members being from Defence Force families which are subject to frequent interstate transfers. At our lowest point in the mid 1990's, the club had only four financial members. In December 2002, the club membership was a healthy seventy-six. Following the loss of numerous valued club members over the 2002 Christmas period, the club is eagerly waiting to see what 2003 will bring.
The inaugural club coach was 2'nd Dan black belt Glen Chillingsworth. Glen remained the resident coach until the early 1990's when he was succeeded by brown belt Mark Hoffman. Mark was the club coach during some lean times for the club and when he departed in 1996 due to an interstate transfer, the club had only four members and was in danger of closing.
In May 1996, 3'rd Dan black belt Luke Ronlund took over as Club Coach. Luke came to LBJC from NTU Judo club and was a relatively new member to NT Judo. His background in judo began in far north Queensland and he was also a member of the nationally renowned Bushido Judo Club in Sydney for ten years. Luke began a period of restructuring with Larrakeyah based on club pride and team spirit, encouraging a culture of healthy competitiveness. As a result, the club exploded to beyond 50 financially registered members within 12 months and has maintained a strong local presence to this day.
Following Lukes departure in December 1999 on an interstate transfer to Sydney, brown belt Graeme Brown became the clubs fourth coach. Graeme, originally from New Zealand, came to Darwin via Brisbane and quickly settled into coaching at Larrakeyah. He was the club coach until January 2001 when he stepped aside to pursue studies at the Northern Territory University. Graeme attained his 1'st Dan black belt in May 2002.
In January 2001, 2'nd Dan Boyd McMahon returned to Darwin from Perth, Western Australia and became the clubs fifth coach. Originally from Brisbane, Boyd had previously been the Northern Territory Coach and was also the inaugural coach for the NT Institute of Sport. In May 2002, Boyd attained his 3'rd Dan black belt. He was the club coach until standing aside at the club AGM in May 2003 due to impending first time parenthood.
In May 2003, the club coach has become a shared role between three brown belts. Luke Butler has been a member of the club since early 2002 and is originally from Adelaide. John Sallabank has also been a club member since mid 2002 and is currently visiting Australia on a visa from England. He has recently been offered a grading to 1'st Dan Black Belt. Duane Barclay is a new club member and spent several years with the Katherine Judo club which is a very strong club situated 300 km south of Darwin.
Success for LBJC has come from the experience and ability of various coaches, but mostly from the trust and hard work of dedicated, caring parents. LBJC has many times held the mantle of the strongest competitive club in Darwin, the largest club in the NT, and arguably the most competitive club in the whole of the NT. As any sporting organisation can attest to, the growth of any club impacts upon and builds the strength and skill level of the entire local sporting community. Larrakeyah welcomes this growth and the challenges it will present in the spirit of healthy mannerly competition. We believe the secret to Larrakeyah's current success to be genuine strong peer support by fellow club members. This comes from the strong friendships the players form with each other as a result of being members of the club. This is continually fostered.
Larrakeyah is very proud to be a sister club to Bushido Judo Club of NSW. This nationally renowned club boasts over 30 years of history, 10 past Olympic representatives and over 270 past students making it to black belt. This relationship is fostered by regular exchange of gifts such as club photos at various competitions around Australia.
LBJC prides itself on very close teamwork with strong ties between military members, ex-military members and the local community. Based on the Larrakeyah Military Barracks, LBJC is a strong blend of serving personnel and their dependants, and members of the local civilian population. The majority of the clubs members are junior's (U13). LBC is an incorporated body. It has a current and clearly articulated business development plan and a sound constitution. These have all been formulated over the last 5 years of the clubs development. LBJC Inc. was fortunate to gain Brigadier Chris Roberts as Patron in 1997 & 1998, Commodore Jeff Smith in 1999, Commodore Mark Bonser in 2000, Brigadier Mike Silverstone in 2001 & 2002 and now Air Commodore Steven Walker in 2003.
Larrakeyah Barracks Judo Club views competitive participation as healthy for any child's development. Coaches encourage participation as enjoyable with emphasis on participation alone being an achievement, irrespective of result. As such, competition exposure loses its emphasis on winning or losing: from the very beginning with "wins" being a bonus to the ultimate motivation for competition, this being proud participation as a member of the Larrakeyah team. Competitions are therefore not "mountains" to Larrakeyah members but rather are "mole hills" in the big picture of Judo development.
The club is very proud of its competition successes as this success is built upon a strong platform of club membership, which in our case, is highly transient. This transience, which is a direct consequence of the clubs high percentage of defence members and their frequent transfer, could easily be used as an excuse for poor club membership or judo development. To the contrary, Larrakeyah counters the loss of highly valued and sorely missed members with the pleasure of gaining new members. It is always hoped and encouraged that departing club members will continue Judo interstate and not forget where their Judo began. It is also hoped that interstate clubs gaining ex-Larrakeyah members will count themselves fortunate.